Experts Predict 20 Major Quakes in 2018

Geologists find that when the earth’s spin slows as it has recently, major earthquake activity follows.

The earth doesn’t spin at a constant speed. Various things can affect its rotation. Activities in its mantle and core affect it, as can atmospheric changes and ocean patterns. We’re not talking about big fluctuations in speed, but since 2011, the earth has been turning just a bit slower than usual, by a few-thousandths of a seconds. This has made our equator a bit smaller, like the best diet plan ever that lets you get thinner while moving around less. Unfortunately, though, tectonic plates haven’t see an equivalent reduction in size, and that means they’re beginning to feel the squeeze. And that can mean more seismic events at the surface.


Geologists Roger Bilham and Rebecca Bendick went through the historical records for other slowdowns over the last 117 years and found an alarming correspondence between slowdowns and an increase in the number of major earthquakes. They presented their findings at a recent meeting of the Geological Society of America.

The geologists conclude that a slowing in the earth’s spin tends to precede increased seismic activity by 5-6 years, and thus the current deceleration may signal a higher number of major earthquakes for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. These would be temblors of 7 or higher in magnitude. 2017 has so far experienced seven such quakes. Bilham and Bendick say we may see, on average, 20 of them in each of the four years.

None of these quakes-waiting-to-happen are created by the equatorial shrinkage, but their development will be accelerated by it. The researchers believe the tropics will be the area most affected, since that’s closest to the shrunken equator.


Due to “interactions of the lithosphere, mantle, and core,” as Bendick emailed Business Insider, the quakes seems especially centered around 10-year slowing periods like the one we’re currently in the midst of.

The bad news here is, obviously, major earthquakes. The good news is that we may be getting an unusual heads-up of impending seismic calamity. As such, the findings represent a rare opportunity for local governments in quake-prone areas to shore up their infrastructure as best they the can, as soon as they can, while they can.


'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less